Despite areas of enormous progress in this country, the gates of opportunity have not fully opened for all in America. For decades, opportunity has lagged behind for boys and young men of color and underserved youth. And while their gains contributed to the national high school graduation rate reaching an all-time high, in some school districts dropout rates remain high. Too many underserved youth will have negative interactions with the juvenile and criminal justice system, and the dream of a college education is within grasp for too few.

The cost to our nation of that lost opportunity and wasted possibility is intolerable. We know we can do better for all of our youth. And across the country, communities are adopting innovative approaches, opening doors, strengthening supports, and building ladders of opportunity for young people, including boys and young men of color, to help put them on the path to success. The federal government wants to build on that success.

That’s why, on February 27, 2014, President Obama took action, joining with philanthropy and the private sector to launch an initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people who are willing to do the hard work to get ahead can reach their full potential — using proven tools and focusing on key moments in their lives where we can help make a difference. Click here to view the Presidential Memorandum.

The Work to Date & Next Steps for the Task Force

Following the announcement, a Federal Task Force of officials from across government launched a coordinated effort to identify what public and private efforts are working and how to expand upon them. These officials traveled the country participating in listening sessions, hosting summits and roundtable discussions, and meeting with community leaders to gather information that would inform a 90-day interim report aimed at ensuring that all youth, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, have the tools and opportunities to succeed. Officials also hosted webinars and stakeholder calls in an effort to ensure that as many voices as possible could be added to the critical dialogue about this work. For archival information about the work of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, please click here.

At the start of 2017, the Task Force was named “The Task Force on Improving the Lives of Boys and Young Men of Color and Underserved Youth”; created to further build progress on the challenges facing boys and young men of color and underserved youth overall. On this site, you can learn more about the Task Force and how to get involved.

Learning From and Doing What Works


As a first step in identifying evidence-based strategies to address barriers and build ladders of opportunity, the Task Force reviewed programs and practices to assess their impact and make recommendations. The Task Force examined existing “clearinghouses” and convened listening sessions to understand best practices and hear how existing research and evaluations are used by decision-makers and practitioners. The Task Force for Boys and Young Men of Color and Underserved Youth will continue to uplift data and evidence of what works in order to best serve America’s underserved youth.